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Weekend Boho Sandals 


Weekend Boho Sandals 

Written By: Kristina Pinto 


Stretcher bars (2) 

Congress cloth (1) 


Floss (1) 

Card of Mandarin floss M822 brown bamboo by RG. 

Silk (1) 

Skein of silken ribbons blue 006 silk by Thread Gatherer. 

Spool (1) 

Spool of Kreinik 027 orange metallic 027 #12 tapestry braid 10 meters. 

Bias tape (1) 

Brown basting/bias tape, at least 1.5" in width for backing. 

Tapestry needles (1) 

size 22 or 24. 

Sewing needle (1) 

Thread (1) 

Brown th machine. 


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Weekend Boho Sandals 

These simple yet eye-catching sandals represent the marriage of uptown chic with 
downtown style. Called "weekend" sandals, they can be stitched one weekend, dropped at 
the cobbler on Monday, and worn the following weekend to the farmer's market or on a 
dinner date. Stitched in bamboo, silk, and metallic, the shoes are comfortable, classy, and 

Once you've stitched the straps you can try making your own sandals or take them to a 
shoemaker. Most needlepoint shops can also connect you with someone who finishes 
needlepoint into shoes. Cobblers tend to cost less than upscale needlepoint boutiques, and 
collaborating with artisans is fun. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

Step 1 — Determine the strap length, and frame the cloth. 

• Measure the arch of your foot (the 
width of your foot about 2" down 
from your baby toe) to determine 
the length of each strap. Add about 
1 .5" onto this length so that there 
will be plenty of excess for your 
cobbler to attach the strap securely 
to the footbed of the shoe. 

• Then, measure the length required 
for a strap across your big toe, 
adding another inch onto the length. 
It might help to use a piece of 
string to gauge the strap lengths, 
measuring each string after you've 
determined and cut the right length. 
Remember to add on the extra 1.5" 
for the arch straps and the extra 1 " 
for the toe straps — you want your 
sandals to fit after you've taken the 
time to stitch them! 

• Frame up your congress cloth on 
the stretcher bars, using 
thumbtacks to hold the canvas in 
place. No need to draw the straps 
on the cloth first — just keep 
stitching until you reach the desired 
length. But plan out your placement 
of all 4 straps on the canvas, so 
you'll be sure to have space to 
stitch all of them. You will work left 
to right for all straps. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

Step 2 — Calculate the stitches. 



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• The straps for these sandals use a 
4-color Norwich stitch that's laid 
over 16 canvas threads to create a 
single line of squares for each 
strap. If the length of your 
measurements does not 
correspond exactly to a series of 
complete squares for each strap, 
do not attempt to stitch partial 
squares of compensation stitches 
— it won't work. 

• Instead, use tent stitches down 
each end of the strap to 
compensate. It's likely these tent 
stitches will wind up buried under 
the footbed once the sandals are 
made. Be sure to calculate so there 
is the same number of vertical 
rows of tent stitches along each 

• When you're done, you'll have 
something resembling this 
illustration of an arch strap; note 
the squares created with the 
Norwich stitch. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

Step 3 — Stitch squares on long strap. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

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• For each square on the long straps, 
begin with the middle by creating a 
large cross stitch, then go around 
the square with diagonal stitches 
once, using 3-ply of the Splendor 
silk. Follow the chart to the right, 
which shows a 4-color Norwich 
stitch laid over 16 canvas threads. 
While only the first 2 stitches are 
displayed, it's easier to grasp the 
placement and order of the stitches 
without all of the lines depicted to 
represent them — just follow the 

• All of the stitches that come up 
through the can- vas are odd 
numbers, and all of the down 
stitches are even. For instance, 
start by bringing your needle up 
through the canvas at 1 , then down 
at 2, up again at 3, down at 4, and 
so on. The colors of the numbers 
correspond to the colors of the 
fibers in the displayed sandals. 

• After you sink your needle at 12, 
change color from the green to the 
brown thread. Then before bringing 
your needle up through hole 29, 
change color to the orange 
metallic. You only do a few stitches 
in this fiber before changing color 
to the blue silk to come up through 
hole 37. Finally, change your color 
(one last time) back to brown. Slide 
the last stitch (59-60) under stitch 
57-58 to complete the woven look. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

• By laying the squares over 16 
canvas threads, you'll leave an 
empty hole in the center of each 
side of each square, but these 
aren't discernible if you use 3-ply 
of the fibers to stitch, which will 
amply cover the canvas. Naturally, 
you should feel free to substitute 
colors you choose or to rearrange 
the order of the colors I used. 

• Each Norwich square 
shares a vertical row of 
canvas holes from the square 
before it. In other words, once 
you've completed the first square, 
you will bring your needle back up 
through hole 3 to start the next 
square. This goes for the toe 
straps as well. Don't forget to 
change your fiber color back to 
green, since you'll end each square 
with brown (for the arch straps). 

• Make sure to bring your 
needle up through the fabric 

on the odd numbers, and down on 
the even numbers. 

• The toe straps also use a Norwich 
stitch, but only over 8 canvas 
threads. Follow the chart to the 
right. This time, colors are ordered 
by green, brown, and blue. Change 
colors as indicated in the chart. 
Once you've stitched all squares 
for each strap, place a French 
knot, with the orange braid between 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

each square, in the empty hole. Do 
not place one on the ends of the 
straps. Doing so would aggravate 
your second toe and your cobbler. 

Step 4 — Make a French knot. 

• To create a French knot, bring your 
needle up through the empty hole 
between 2 Norwich squares. Hold 
the thread with your thumb and 
wrap your orange braid around the 
needle 3 times. Then, holding the 
thread that's wrapped around the 
needle so it doesn't slide off, gently 
insert your needle back down 
through the same hole, taking care 
to keep holding the braid wrapped 
around the needle until the cord is 
pulled taut through the canvas hole. 
This will create a knot on top of the 

• As with the arch straps, if you find 
the length of your toe strap does 
not correspond to an even number 
of Norwich squares, use an equal 
number of rows of compensating 
tent stitches on either end of the 
strap to achieve the desired length 
for the strap. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

Step 5 — Add a border row of tent stitches. 


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• Once you have the 4 bands 
stitched, stitch one more row of 
tent stitches along the top and 
bottom lengths of each strap with 
the bamboo thread to conceal the 
bare canvas. Refer to the tent 
stitch illustration at left for how to 
do this easy stitch. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

Step 6 — Attach backing of basting tape. 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

• You need to attach a cloth backing to the straps so that the raw canvas edge won't 
aggravate your foot, and to make them look professional — handmade, not homemade, as 
my mom says. Basting (or bias) tape, which is available in any sewing store, works very 
well and is inexpensive. You might also use an ultrasuede, which is softer. Match the color 
of your backing fabric to the color of your extra row of tent stitches; I chose brown. Also, 
be sure to use a quality thread that is doubled over in your needle for sewing on the 
backing — you don't want your thread to snap. I recommend Gutermann. 

• Cut out each strap from the congress cloth, leaving no more than 1/4" of raw canvas 
around the perimeter. To sew the backing on the strap, you will use a technique called 
blind finishing, or invisible stitch, also used for hemming an item of clothing. This process 
will probably take longer than the needlepoint phase, and it's somewhat tedious. A 
needlepoint shop will do it for you for a fee, but you can do it yourself, too. You will be 
sewing the backing along both long edges of each strap. You can use a sewing machine 
for one of the edges on each strap, but the second edge will require hand-sewing. 

• After you cut out your straps, cut out the proper length and width of bias tape. The length 
is determined by the length of your particular straps, of course. The width of the backing 
should be 2.5cm wide for the toe straps and 3cm wide for the arch straps. After cutting out 
the 4 strips, iron each piece of bias tape flat. Then fold in each tape 6mm along its length 
and iron that flap down. At this point you only need to do this once per strap (not along 
both edges). 

• Hand-sewing the edges: if you choose not to machine stitch the straps' edges to the 
backing and opt to do it by hand, line up the folded edge of your bias tape with the row of 
tent stitches along one edge of a strap. The flap on the bias tape should lie against the raw 
canvas edge of your needlepoint, and its crease should align with the edge of your Norwich 

• Bring your needle with the double-thickness of brown sewing thread up at the corner of the 
crease and make a small stitch along the crease, no more than 4mm per stitch, sinking the 
needle back into the crease of the bias tape. Then come back up, this time in the hole 
shared by a tent stitch and a Norwich square. Make another small, 4mm stitch along that 
edge, sinking back into a hole shared by a tent stitch and a Norwich square. Your next 
stitch will be placed in the crease of the bias tape again. Continue this way along the 
length of the strap, and repeat for all straps. This process can be long but it's worth it to 
have a finished strap with a clean edge. 

• Once you've finished blind stitching (so called because the stitches are hidden) one strap 
edge, fold in another 6mm flap on the remaining edge of the tape, ironing it down flat to 

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Weekend Boho Sandals 

make a crease. Stitch along that edge in the same fashion as you did for the first edge of 
the strap, aligning the tent stitch edge with the crease of the bias tape. Make small 
stitches down the length of the strap, alternating with small stitches down the crease of the 
bias tape. Large stitches, you will notice, make the fabric bunch and look shoddy. 
• Repeat this process of invisible stitches along the remaining edge of all of the straps. For 
further instruction and illustration of blind stitching, see The Needlepoint Book by Jo 
Ippolito Christensen. 

Step 7 — Go from straps to sandals. 

• If you're handy and resourceful, you can add soles and put the sandals together yourself. 

• There are several tutorials and resources available online, everything from making Roman 
sandals to making soles from recycled tires . A great resource is Make Your Own Shoes 
by Mary Wales Loomis. 

• I also recommend collaborating with artisans and increasing the longevity of your creation 
by having a cobbler or a needlepoint shop assemble the sandals. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02 . pages 92-S 

st generated on 2012-11-03 12:48:12 AM. 

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